By Becky Walz,
Without last year to go on, it’s hard to know how teams will stack up against each other on the track, but the South Winn girls’ track and field team is looking forward to the opportunity to compete.
Veteran talent and experience in middle- and long-distance races, the Warriors will be looking to fill out the entire line-up in order to compete for a conference title.
Leading the way will be Head Coach Kevin Kearney, who has been with the program for 27 years. He will be assisted by Darcy Einck, Jason Ohrt and Ethan Adams.
Solid in 2019
The last season the Lady Warriors had in 2019 was filled with experience as South Winn welcomed back 12 letter winners, including five place winners at state.
South Winn finished fourth at the Upper Iowa Conference meet and went on to qualify six events for the state championships. Headlining the state meet was then-senior Ellie Loesch with final qualifying sprints in both the 100 and 200-meter dashes. She was also a member of both the 4×200 and 4×400 relays at state. Joining Loesch on the track in the relays were Ashley Kriener, Eryn Sabelka and Shira Hageman. Also on the track was the 4×800 quartet of Kriener, Sabelka, Kayley Taylor and Olivia Massman. Punching her ticket and finishing 18th at state was Emma Houdek.
Ready to tie up the laces on their running shoes with previous state experience are Eryn Sabelka and Becca Wagner, who will form a solid foundation for the Lady Warriors’ middle-distance group. Qualifying as a sophomore in the long jump, Emma Houdek is back for her senior campaign. Also competing in the hurdles, Houdek will be joined by Hannah Franzen and Holly Schmitt.
In the field events, seniors Emmaleigh Ohrt and Emma Barness return.
“We also have a strong distance group coming off a great cross country season — Billie Wagner, Josie Tieskoetter, Megan Hageman, Anna Dietzenbach and Ella Willey,” said Coach Kearney. “We have a good group of sophomores who did not get to compete last spring. They have great attitudes and strong work ethic, so I am optimistic about their contributions this spring as well.”
Filling out the Lady Warriors’ roster are juniors Carly Meyer and Ashley Elsbernd; sophomores Gabby Becker, Quinn Kruckman, Morgan Kriener, Josie Hageman, Kalissa Schmelzer and Alison Heying; and freshmen Autumn Schmitt, Kira Ellingson, Josie Tollefsrud, Aubrey Willey and Addisen Kuennen.
In the UIC
Coach Kearney noted that traditionally fans can count on North Fayette Valley, Central Elkader and Kee High bringing strong, well-rounded teams to meets, especially the Upper Iowa Conference invitational.
“All the teams in our conference bring some great athletes, so it is just a matter of what kind of depth they have from year to year,” the veteran coach noted. “We hope to mix it up in the top three or four teams by the end of the season and see where the chips fall.
“We have good numbers and a well-rounded team, so we should be able to field a pretty solid line-up all the way around. Our seniors are looking forward to finishing their year on a positive note and our underclassmen are looking forward to getting the opportunity to compete in track again. We really have a great group of kids right now. It should be a fun season.”